Update: One or more card offers in this post are no longer available. Check our Hot Deals for the latest offers.
Folks with small businesses can earn cash back on spending with business credit cards with no annual fee like the SimplyCash Plus Business Credit Card from American Express or the Chase Ink Cash.
Each card has different perks, bonus categories, and sign-up bonuses. So which is a better pick for your small business?
I’ll help you decide!
Business Credit Cards With No Annual Fee – AMEX SimplyCash Plus vs. Chase Ink Cash
Link: Chase Ink Cash
You’ll need to have a for-profit business to qualify for these cards. But you don’t have to be a huge corporation. Here are 10 ways you could qualify for a business credit card.
1. Sign-Up Bonus
With the Ink Cash card, you can earn 30,000 Chase Ultimate Rewards points after you spend $3,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That’s worth $300 in cash back!
And you’re NOT limited to cash back with the Ink Cash card. You can book travel through the Chase travel portal at a rate of 1 cent per point.
And if you have the Chase Sapphire Preferred, Chase Ink Business Preferred, or Chase Ink Plus or Ink Bold (no longer available), you can combine points and book travel through the Chase travel portal at a rate of 1.25 cents per point. Or the Chase Sapphire Reserve for a rate of 1.5 cents per point.
But you can get even more for your points if you combine them with another Chase Ultimate Rewards card and transfer directly to Chase airline and hotel partners.
The AMEX SimplyCash Plus card offers a $200 statement credit after spending $5,000 on purchases within the first 6 months of opening your account. And an additional $200 statement credit when you spend an additional $10,000 on purchases in the first year of account opening.
So while you’ll earn a slightly smaller sign-up bonus with the Ink Cash card, the minimum spending requirement is much lower.
2. Bonus Category Spending
You’ll earn additional cash back on certain spending categories with both cards.
With the AMEX SimplyCash Plus, you’ll get:
- 5% cash back at office supply stores in the US and on your US wireless phone bill (up to $50,000 in purchases per calendar year)
- 3% cash back on eligible purchases (up to $50,000 in purchases per calendar year) in 1 of 8 categories of your choice including:
- Airfare purchased directly from airlines
- Hotel stays purchased directly from the hotel
- Purchases made directly from the car rental companies
- Purchases at US gas stations
- Purchases at US restaurants
- US purchases for advertising in select media
- US purchases for shipping
- US purchases for computer hardware, software, and cloud computing directly from select providers
With the Ink Cash, you’ll get:
- 5% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at office supply stores and on internet, cable, and phone services each account anniversary year
- 2% cash back on the first $25,000 spent in combined purchases at gas stations and restaurants each account anniversary year
You’ll likely earn more cash back with the AMEX SimplyCash Plus card depending on the bonus category you choose.
Let’s say you choose US gas stations. If you spend $5,000 per year with the AMEX SimplyCash Plus card, you’ll earn $150 cash back ($5,000 X 3%). This same spending on the Ink Cash card would get you $100 cash back ($5,000 X 2%).
But if you choose gas stations and end up spending more on restaurant purchases, it’s possible you could have missed out on extra cash back. Because the Ink Cash would automatically get you 2% cash back on gas station AND restaurant purchases.
With the AMEX SimplyCash Plus card, you’ll always have the option to change your bonus category once per year.
Remember the AMEX bonus category spending applies to only US purchases, except the travel categories like airfare, hotels, and rental car.
But neither small business card is good to use overseas because they have foreign transaction fees.
3. Spending Limits
On the other hand, the Chase Ink Cash card is a typical credit card. Chase will extend you a credit limit and that’s what will determine your purchasing power.
If you need the flexibility to make large purchases, the AMEX SimplyCash Plus has the advantage.
4. No Fees for Authorized Users
You might give your employees credit cards to make purchases for your business. If so, you’ll have the ability to add them as authorized users to either the Chase or AMEX small business cards without any fees.
You’ll get the benefit of any cash back rewards on the authorized user’s spending.
But you’re ultimately responsible for any charges an authorized user makes. So be sure to only add someone you trust!
Remember you can freeze authorized user cards or set an authorized spending limit.
AMEX and Chase Business Cards Don’t Count Against Chase’s “5/24” Rule
I’ve written about card limits at Chase. If you’ve opened ~5 or more credit card accounts (from any bank) on your personal credit report in the past 24 months, it’s unlikely Chase will approve you for many of their credit cards.
That said, if you’ve already opened 5 or more recent credit card accounts, it’s unlikely you’ll get approved for the Chase Ink Cash card.
The Chase Ink Cash card is better for folks looking to get more flexibility with their credit card rewards. Because you can combine points with other Chase Ultimate Rewards accounts to book travel.
The AMEX SimplyCash Plus strictly earns cash back. But you have more options for bonus category spending. Because you can pick 1 of 8 options to earn 3% cash back like purchases at hotels, US restaurants, or US gas stations.
The SimplyCash Plus has a slightly higher sign-up bonus, but the minimum spending requirement is much higher.
And remember AMEX and Chase small business cards don’t appear on your personal credit report. So getting one won’t hurt your chances at being approved for Chase cards!